As an increasing number of utility companies seeks to implement residential energy efficiency programs to reduce operating costs, these companies increasingly rely on the contractors that sell and install energy efficient products and services in order to deliver efficiency measures into homes in the utility’s service territory. Many energy efficiency programs are hampered by the utility’s desire to remain “neutral” towards actively partnering with contractors; in most cases this neutrality is accompanied by a lack of measurement, accountability, and ultimately program success. Indifference to measuring and rewarding contractor performance and the resulting lackluster program success often requires the utility to spend more time and effort for fewer measures delivered.

Achieving better program success is possible when neutrality is guided by the presence of a set of objective performance metrics that enable a utility to maintain the absence of bias or preference towards contractors while successfully and cost-effectively driving efficiency measures. Utilities that hold this view drive more measures with less staffing needs by connecting customers with contractors who consistently deliver on these metrics, while maintaining an overall neutral perspective towards the market.

By understanding how the classic definition of neutrality limits program success, how customers make decisions around efficiency, how utilities can establish standardized objective performance metrics to create a more successful neutral strategy, and how utilities can incentivize contractors to participate in their programs, utility companies can drive significantly higher rates of efficiency program adoption.

Demand Management Installation Services, a division of Fast Water Heater Company, works with utilities and other groups to deliver large scale, cost-effective therm and kWh hour savings. DMIS conducts 25,000 unique customer visits each year, which gives our in-home experts a chance to quickly identify efficient opportunities for homeowners to save money and energy. The programs we’ve been involved with have a track record of high customer adoption rates and yield significant energy and water savings.

In June 2014, DMIS published a white paper on partnership between utility companies and contractors to help both parties understand how they can better work together to drive higher market penetration for residential energy efficiency initiatives. If you’re interested in contacting DMIS for more information, please contact or 425-636-7080.

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